Racing & Wagering

Arlington Park and Four Surrounding Communities Prepare for Gigantic Homecoming for ‘Idol’ Finalist Lee DeWyze

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/11/2010 #

Officials from the City of Arlington Heights, the Village of Mount Prospect, the Village of Palatine, the City of Rolling Meadows, High School District 214 and Arlington Park Racecourse continue to make preparations for what could be one of the largest homecoming celebrations in "American Idol" history should local resident Lee DeWyze advance to show's Final Three with the public's vote after performing on the hit FOX television series Tuesday night.

Should DeWyze, a Mount Prospect resident, advance to the Final Three when vote totals are announced in a one-hour program airing from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m. Wednesday on FOX-32 in Chicago, he will perform a mini-concert at Arlington Park as the culmination of a daylong whirlwind return to the Chicago area.

The day's events are being planned in a cooperative effort between the Villages of Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights and Palatine, the City of Rolling Meadows, Township High School District 214, Arlington Park Racecourse and the City of Chicago.

"We want everyone in the entire Chicago area to watch Lee perform on ‘American Idol' Tuesday night and then cast their vote for him so we can bring Lee home to the northwest suburbs and give him the homecoming celebration he richly deserves," said Kevin Clarke, Arlington Park's director of operations.

If DeWyze advances to the Final Three after the results are revealed Wednesday evening, fans are encouraged to visit to secure their free ticket for this once in a lifetime event.

The racecourse can hold in excess of 45,000 people and track officials will be ready to handle that number.  The track has already twice hosted crowds of more than 20,000 since its season began two weeks ago, including almost 30,000 last Sunday for Mother's Day. 

This is a ticketed event only.  Those fans who wish to only come for the post-race performance can do so free of charge but will need to secure a general admission ticket that allows entry to the racetrack after 4 p.m. by visiting after Wednesday night's "American Idol" results program concludes at 9 p.m. Central time. These general admission tickets will not include reserved seating and will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Those fans wishing to purchase admission and reserved seats for the afternoon's races, which begin at a special time of 1 p.m. to accommodate the post-race mini-concert, will be permitted to remain in those seats for the free performance.  Tickets for racing start at just $6 and can be purchased online at

The performance at Arlington Park follows a motorcade/viewing through downtown Mount Prospect. The motorcade will begin at approximately 4:30 p.m., and proceed down Northwest Highway between Route 83/Main Street and Central Road.

In addition, with significant portions of I-290 under construction, officials are encouraging people to allow plenty of travel time from Chicago to the northwest suburbs for both the motorcade and the mini-concert.  The METRA Chicago Northwest train line has stops in Mount Prospect and at Arlington Park.